(Reuters) – A lone, silent vigil by a man in Istanbul inspired copycat protests on Tuesday, as police detained dozens of people across Turkey in an operation linked to three weeks of often violent demonstrations against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.
Overnight in Ankara, riot police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of protesters who had gathered in and around the government quarter of Kizilay.
But in stark contrast to the recent fierce clashes in several cities, dozens of protesters merely stood in silence in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, inspired by a man who lit up social media by doing just that for eight hours in Istanbul’s Taksim Square on Monday.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has issued a “final warning” to protesters to leave Gezi Park in central Istanbul.
“Our patience is at an end. I am making my warning for the last time,” he said.
Clashes between police and protesters in the park and adjoining Taksim Square have continued for nearly two weeks.
Activists have said they will not leave until the government abandons plans to redevelop the park. Mr Erdogan’s party has proposed a referendum on the issue.